Celegorm remembers the first time he met Aredhel. They had been at a ‘family reunion’ (Finwë’s attempt at pretending his family all got along; no one had the heart to begrudge him) (that didn’t mean that their atars didn’t fight) and he had been trying to tie the string to his bow (a gift from his eldest brother, who had grown out of it). He’d been failing miserably, unable to hold the bow and tie the knot at the same it, when Aredhel had walked up to him and asked if he needed her to hold the bow. He had known his father didn’t like Aredhel’s father, as evidenced by their fighting very, very loudly, but he’d figured it wouldn’t hurt to be friends with Ñolofinwë’s daughter, so he accepted. Besides, Maitimo was friends with Findekáno, so what could it hurt? He’d handed her the bow, tying the knot while she held it firmly and steadily.
“Do you like to hunt?” he had asked when she twanged the drawstring, mimicking the sound of an arrow wooshing through the air.
“Yes!” she had said, giggling.
They’d been best friends ever since.
Celegorm remembers the first hunting trip they went on together. They had both worried about what their fathers (fighting, as ever), would think of them going hunting together (this was illogical, he thinks, Maedhros and Fingon had been hunting together long before then), so they had asked their mothers, who had agreed so long as they promised to be safe. They’d agreed immediately.
(later, Celegorm remembers, his father had come into his room and told him that he didn’t care who his hunting partners were, so long as they were competent. And, he had added, eyes shining, he had heard Aredhel was quite good with a bow)
(by Eru, he misses when his father was good like that. but that’s not important right now.)
They had gone overnight in the forests, not scared of anything because how could they be? Their best friend was right beside them, watching their back. They had stayed up late, lying on the ground, laughing together as they looked up at the stars, talking about everything from proper hunting techniques to Maitimo and Findekáno’s relationship to ‘why can’t our fathers just get along?’.
The next morning, Aredhel had shot a little squirrel. He had felt so proud, they walked home beaming. It had been one of the happiest adventures of his life.
Celegorm remembers the first time they fought. He had made a passive-aggressive comment about Ñolofinwë (something that tended to happen the more time you spent with his atar), she had made a passive-aggressive comment about the silmarils and all of a sudden they were screaming at each other in the middle of the forest, no holding back.
“At least my father loves me more than he loves some stupid gems!” Aredhel had screamed at him, and he had flinched so hard he dropped his bow. He felt like he had been slapped, the truth to her words laid bare in front of him.
He had known, of course, how his father was losing himself to the silmarils, but hearing the words from his best friend had made it real in a way he’d never been before.
“Tyelkormo?” she had asked, harsh tone disappearing in favour of a softer, worried one, as he stood frozen, tears streaming down his face. “Tyelkormo, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it-”
“It’s true, though,” he mumbled. “He spends all his time… locked up in his forge with those stupid silmarils and he doesn’t even come out to say goodnight and I don’t know what to do Írissë I just want him to be my atar again.” He had sobbed, crying into Aredhel’s shoulder when she wrapped her arms around him, assuring him that his father loved him (how pathetic, really, that his father couldn’t tell him that himself). The reassurance had been enough, for then.
“I’m sorry I was being a jerk,” he had said after his tears had dried. “I shouldn’t have said that stuff about Ñolofinwë.”
“I’m sorry, too,” she had replied.
When they fought after that, they left their families out of it.
Celegorm remembers how Aredhel cried for him after he swore his father’s oath. He remembers drying her tears, telling her there was nothing to be upset about. He and his brothers and his father would sail east, to Arda, take the silmarils back and they would come home.
“We’ll be back before you know it,” he had said, right before his uncle announced that he, too, would be joining them on their quest and all three of Aredhel’s brothers would also come along.
“See, look,” he said, watching Maitimo and Findekáno hug at the news. “Your father isn’t an irrational man, he wouldn’t risk your brothers’ lives if this weren’t a simple mission.”
She had nodded, taking a shaky breath and announced that she was coming too. He spun her around and smiled, glad for his dearest friend agreeing to join them.
Celegorm remembers the women did not take part in the Kinslaying at Alqualondë and he is grateful that she had no blood on her hands (he does, and he hates it).
Celegorm remembers the burning of the ships. He had known that the only other way to get across to Arda was through the Helcaraxë and he had wondered if his father had truly gone out of his mind.
“What about Írissë?” he had shouted, complementing Maitimo’s outraged ‘What about Findekáno?’ quite nicely.
“My sons,” Fëanáro had said, holding his hands out to appease them. “The point is not to force my brother and his people to go over the Ice, but rather to get them to go home.”
Maitimo had protested still, but he (foolishly) had believed him.
When he had found out that Fingolfin and his peoples had crossed the Ice anyways and that many of them, Arakáno included, had perished, he had been sick to his stomach.
Celegorm remembers coming back home and finding he had just missed Aredhel. He had been disappointed, but he had understood why she had left so soon, come and gone without seeing him. The inability to stay in one place for too long was something that they both knew rather well.
He understood why she had done it. He still wished he could have seen her again (one last time).
Now, Celegorm tosses aside the memories of his best friend, his Írissë, his Aredhel. They hurt too much when he gets the news.
Aredhel is no longer someone he will ever make memories with again.
Aredhel is gone.